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In NYC, the New Year’s Eve show must go on — even as COVID-19 cases rise

Dec. 31, 2021
3 min read
In NYC, the New Year’s Eve show must go on — even as COVID-19 cases rise
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The COVID-19 omicron variant has caused canceled flights, travel bans and more. But one thing it hasn't stopped? The annual Times Square New Year's Eve ball drop -- and the show will go on.

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As New York City ushers in a new year, issues from the previous 365 days, like omicron, remain. COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the Big Apple and "shatter" records statewide. However, the city still plans to bring thousands of revelers to Times Square to bid goodbye to 2021 and hello to 2022.

The city had initially planned for an all-out extravaganza of fully vaccinated revelers -- in previous years, over one million people have attended the event. Now, just 15,000 vaccinated and masked spectators will be allowed to view the ball drop.

Revelers five years old or over must present proof of a COVID-19 vaccination approved by the FDA or World Health Organization to enter. People unable to be vaccinated because of a disability must show proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before the event, and they’ll also be required to wear a mask.

And if you do plan to go to Times Square, you may have to wait a while for things to open. Visitors won’t be allowed entry until 3 p.m., much later than in previous years when revelers would arrive in the early morning to reserve a spot.

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As the omicron variant spreads across the U.S., driving up positive cases and straining hospital systems, other large cities have canceled or scaled back their New Year's Eve festivities. Atlanta's annual Peach Drop is again canceled due to rising COVID-19 figures in the city. Seattle is going ahead with its New Year's Eve celebration at the Space Needle but has discouraged revelers.

Outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio has resisted calls to cancel the event in New York City.

“We want to show that we’re moving forward, and we want to show the world that New York City is fighting our way through this,” de Blasio said on Dec. 30 on the “Today” show. “It’s really important to not give up in the face of this.” Incoming mayor Eric Adams is scheduled to be sworn in just after midnight in Times Square.

There are concerns that a large celebration, even outdoors, could worsen the COVID-19 situation in the city. Despite 72% of New Yorkers being fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, a whopping 41,000 people tested positive for the virus on Dec. 30 alone, according to a New York Times tracker.

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
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  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
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Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more